North Carolina Colleges

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North Carolina Colleges and Trade Schools

Are you a resident of the great state of North Carolina? Have you recently completed your high school diploma requirements and now you are anxious to get started on your post secondary education? Below, you will find recent statistical information regarding potential employment in North Carolina, along with a brief introduction to some of the most popular collegiate choices in this state. It is important to keep in mind that the list of schools below is not conclusive; therefore, if none of the mentioned schools appeal to you, you may need to further your research.

According to recent online research, approximately 59-63% of the available jobs in North Carolina will require applicants to hold a post secondary degree. On the somewhat opposite end of that spectrum, if you have only completed some of a college degree program, you will only be adequately qualified for about 21-22% of the jobs in this state. In addition, only 10-15% of the available jobs will be appropriate for someone who holds a two year associate's degree, while 22-26% of the potential jobs will require a four year bachelor's level degree. However, in some instances it may be possible for an individual to obtain a position with only an associate's degree and to then continue working to complete a bachelor's level program. Continue reading below to become acquainted with some of the popular college and university choices in this state.

Duke University is recognized as one of the country's best universities. This private research based university is located in Durham and is currently home to about 14,000 students. Of this total enrollment figure only about half are working to complete an undergraduate degree program. Not only does this university have phenomenal athletic programs, their academic programs are also something to be proud of! In fact, Duke University is considered a part of the research triangle with North Carolina State University and UNC Chapel Hill. Despite the fact that this learning facility is recognized for its degree programs in the areas of science and the liberal arts, there are definitely many other great options for interested students to consider. North Carolina State University is another viable option for you to check out.

Located in Raleigh, this public research university is the largest in the state. In fact, recent online statistics show that North Carolina State University has about 33,000 students enrolled. Of this number, about 25,000 are working to obtain an undergraduate degree. This university is also well known for its degree programs in the areas of science and the liberal arts, with many other viable options there for you to consider. UNC Asheville is another great collegiate option for interested students to peruse. Recognized as one of the top public liberal arts college in the country, UNC Asheville operates on a much smaller scale than the two previously mentioned facilities. In fact, current enrollment shows only about 3,700 students enrolled; the vast majority of these students are working to complete an undergraduate degree program. Noted for its good educational value and a beautiful location in the Blue Ridge Mountains, prospective students surely will not want to overlook all that this college has to offer!

Davidson College is a private liberal arts college that is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. With only undergraduate level degree programs being offered, this college currently has about 1,700 students enrolled. Interested individuals who are considering Davidson College can expect a low student to faculty ratio and strong degree programs in science and the liberal arts. In addition, Davidson College is recognized for having a high graduation and retention rate, which should definitely be appealing to prospective students. Wake Forest University, located in Winston Salem, is another great private university to consider.

This university is known as one of the more selective universities in the state with test optional admissions (which may strongly appeal to interested individuals). Currently, Wake Forest University reports a total enrollment of nearly 7,000 students. At this time, nearly 4,500 of these enrolled students are working to complete an undergraduate degree program. With small class sizes, a low student to faculty ratio, and strong degree programs in the liberal arts and sciences, Wake Forest University certainly needs to make the list of universities to check out. It is important to note that North Carolina has many other great educational facilities that may be better suited to your goals than the few mentioned here. Take your time and do thorough research until you find the best educational fit for you.


Key Economic Industries in North Carolina

Please love working North Carolina due to its great climate and low cost of living. The state currently has a 5.5 unemployment rate with Raleigh dipping under 4%.
Aerospace and Defense – over 180 aerospace companies have manufacturing facilities in the state that employ over 9500 employees. One of the stats they are proud of is 36% of North Carolina workers are more productive than the average US worker.

Automotive – If you are interested in an automotive career than North Carolina is home to some of the top automotive and heavy truck equipment companies in the nation. The state has over 388,000 manufacturing workers. The workforce has over 160 different automotive related companies to work for.

Financial Sector – With employment numbers over 150,000 in this sector it is one of the largest employers in the state. The sector has more than 13,000 businesses and with top universities in the state focusing on business related degrees you can see why this sector is expected to grow 9% over the next 5 years.


Trade School Careers

For the 4th straight year college enrollments in the state are down and the state colleges had to make serious changes if they wanted to retain their high school graduates from leaving the state and enrolling in other schools. Colleges have lowered tuition and even admissions requirements, but is that enough? One area that has seen growth over the past 5 years is those programs that are considered career training or vocational training. The average age of someone in a vocational school is 28 years old and is a working adult.

Dental Assistants – In North Carolina the need for dental assistants have increased 15.7% over the past 3 years and now has a median salary of $57,532. Training programs can be found in Cary, Fayetteville, Raleigh, Wilmington and Greensboro.

Registered Nurses – If you research the need for nurses in NC you’ll find conflicting articles stating that the need for nurses is over. The real issue is 2 in 5 nurses are over the age of 55 and close to retirement. Once they require all of a sudden the state is without 10’s of thousands of qualified registered nurses. Now is a great time to get started with your training which will take up to 2 years to complete. With an average salary of $60,030 it is no wonder why most trade schools in the state have a waiting list when it comes to their nursing programs.

Electrical Journeyman – Conduct a simple job search and you’ll see apprentice electricians are needed throughout the state. With a beginning salary of around $25 per hour one can get trained quickly in under a year and enter the workforce.

Industry Trends in North Carolina


North Carolina Vocational School Q&A

We interviewed Shelly Winters of the Center of Career Training in North Carolina to get her views on the state and where she feels education is headed.

Why are career training schools so popular now in NC?
First off thanks for talking to me as educating our workforce is always a top priority for the state. Each year we see a percentage of our residents that are forced to leave the state to find employment and we never want to lose anyone. As a state that struggled with the financial collapse in 2009 it took a toll on our employment numbers and so many people lost their job and even home that it took years to recover. Even when something like that happens people don’t give up and turn to other training options. It isn’t feasible for many that are older to put their lives on hold and go back to school for 4 years so that is where the role of a vocational school comes into play.

Who is not right for taking a course from a trade school?
If you don’t know what you want to do then a trade school is probably not the best fit. These schools train on industry specific topics that many require a license for so when you enroll you aren’t taking a bunch of general education courses to learn what areas you might like to pursue.

We here a bunch of negative news about the for-profit schools, can you expand?
It has been a crazy few years with so many of these private for-profit schools closing but overall you have to do your own research and find a school with a proven track record. If you look at the schools that got in big trouble you’ll see a pattern of aggressive marketing and sales, lots of negative reviews online and a low completion and placement rate. These are all areas as a new student you need to research yourself before you enroll. North Carolina has done a great job of watching the schools that are offering program and holding them accountable if their student completion rates or placement rates aren’t up to standards.

What factors do you consider when looking into a trade school?
I think the biggest is reputation. If you know someone that has went to the school take time to interview them. Did they get a job? Did they like the school? Do they feel they got a quality education? Also tuition costs are a big factor when looking into any school. We found that sometimes tuition costs for the same like program can be 50% higher at another school so make sure you research each one and ask questions.


North Carolina Education Resources